Coconut & Date Cream Pie

coconut and date cream pie

date cream pie

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I have a long history of being completely obsessed with home made pies. When I was just a wee little girl, someone had gifted my mum a set of 4 pie plates. They were ceramic with deep scalloped edges. Etched right on the inside of the plate were recipes for various pies including peach pie, rhubarb strawberry pie, apple pie and blueberry pie.  We made many a pie in those lovely little plates dotted with hand painted fruits.  Today, we crank out all sorts of pies at Frost on a regular basis and I have the same wide-eyed fascination of pies today as I did way back then. Flaky pastry crusts, cookie crumb crusts, sweet fruit fillings, savoury fillings, cream topped, meringue topped — the variety of pies I’ve made are as diverse as the pie plates I bake them up in, so it should come as no surprise that I’m always on the hunt for new pie recipes and forever playing with ingredients and flavour pairings to create delicious and interesting pies.

Whenever I’m playing around with new recipes, my mind always turns to flavours that pair well together. Certain flavours are simply meant to be together: P.B. and jelly, milk and cookies, spaghetti and meatballs, fish and chips, cheese and crackers, cupcakes and sprinkles…the list goes on. Of all the usual suspects, one of my favourite flavour pairings which, in my humble opinion, is under-utilized is coconut and date. Dates have so many applications, both savoury and sweet, and coconut has a wonderful warmth about it. It’s sweet and comforting and works perfectly with the nutty, robust date. To that end, I figured there was no better application for this flavour pairing than a delicious and decadent cream pie!

The base of this pie is a graham cracker crumb combined with pecans and coconut which become toasty and fragrant when baked. The pie is then filled with a layer of caramelized dates and then a sour cream layer. Finally, it is topped with a light and airy whipped cream and garnished with more toasted coconut, pecans, and dates! The dates and coconut in this are the perfect marriage of flavours which completely come alive in your mouth. If you’re reticent about the sour cream layer, let me assuage your concerns and put your hesitations at bay by telling you that the sour cream layer completely makes this pie. It is tangy and creamy and balances the sweetness of the pie beautifully.

I tried making this pie a few times varying the amount of dates and I reckon I got it just right. The dates make up a thin layer at the bottom of the pie but the pie itself is not very high so the other layers of sour cream and whipped cream don’t compete with the dates and allow their flavour to come out in every bite. If my childhood has taught me anything about pies, it’s that you should never turn down the opportunity to make or taste a freshly made pie — it’s happiness in a plate and, well, who would turn their nose up at that? 😉

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Dashboard Cookies

{When the summer days get crazy hot, why not harness
the sun’s power and make cookies…in your car!
+ Read on for TIPS on dashboard-baking perfection!}

Dashboard cookies - baking cookies in a car www.crumbsandtales.com + tips

It’s inevitable. No sooner does the mercury start rising, do reporters and other curious folk venture outdoors to demonstrate that it’s hotter than a hen in a wool basket by frying eggs on side walks, crisping up bacon on metal park benches and even baking up pizza pies on asphalt. (Yes, that actually happened.)

And of course there are legions of people with raging sweet tooths who are baking up cookies on the dashboard of their cars…yes, their cars. I reckon someone came up with this rockin’ concept of harnessing the sun’s power, in a completely serendipitous way; just stumbled upon it one day when they weren’t paying attention and left their, erm, baking tray in the car while they were getting something from the trunk…?

Whomever is credited with this concept, yesterday, a socially conscious and awesome, Toronto Detective named Jeff Bangild of the Toronto Police Service, decided — in a plight to generate much needed awareness about the dangers of leaving pets or *gasp* kids in cars during the summer time (and, I imagine, to satisfy a yen for delicious baked cookies — donuts, move aside) — to bake up cookies in his car while he went about his day. Taking inspiration from Toronto’s finest, I’ve decided that I’d follow suit and bake up a batch today and hopefully, in turn, cajole all of you lovely readers into baking up a batch too! I imagine this is how MacGyver baked cookies and, well, I’m all for MacGyver-izing any food.

And so, I set off again today on another culinary misadventure adventure. Try it at home; this will completely give you rock-star status with your kids.

Make these. Now. If for no other reason than to leave your car smelling like the best bakery there ever was (actually THIS is the best bakery there ever was – www.facebook.com/frostcupcake – but whatever;) You’ll never need another air freshener for your car again!

You can even bring a hunk of cookie dough in a portable refrigerator or cooler on a camping or cottaging trip and bake these up in your car whilst you swim or hike or do whatever it is you like to do in warm weather. You’ll get freshly baked cookies and you won’t have to slave over a hot stove indoors while the family is enjoying the great outdoors.

When you’re serving this up to neighbours (and they WILL come ’round to hover by your car and wait for the cookies) you’re required by social law and civil courtesy 😉 to follow this moral imperative and remind them to never leave their pet or child in the car…even on a pleasantly warm day…even for a minute. And, remember, if you see an animal or a child in a car on a hot day, always call the police. That caveat aside, you’re free to enjoy these cookies any way you choose.

Scroll down for my tested recipe and TIPS for making these Dashboard Cookies aaaamazing! Seriously, let’s make some productive use out of this stifling hot weather already. 

dashboard cookie - baking tips

Wouldn’t these dainty little cookies look awesome juxtaposed in front of a massive textured/mesh masculine car grill? Oh well, I had to do with what I had. These were just begging to be staged in front of a car grill with car keys in the background. They are ‘car cookies’ after all! 😉

baking cookies in a car - dashboard baking

How cute do these look all stacked and wrapped up like a little gift. Just because they’re ‘car cookies’ doesn’t exclude them from being adorable! 

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So how did I know it was dashboard cookie-making weather? Because the thermometer told me so! My car reading was 95°F and my standard outdoor thermometer reading was around 30°C. Phew. It was a scorcher.

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So, my make shift oven for the day was none other than my car. How resourceful is that? It’s such a ‘green’ concept this ‘solar-baking’ so you can feel a teeny tiny bit better about spewing harmful emissions from your car into the environment as you drive around all day long. (Don’t judge me, you drive a car too.)

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